Update on Deaf Action’s campaign from Philip Gerrard, CEO
Back in May, Deaf Action was featured on BBC Breakfast, where we shared our concerns around what the use of face masks can mean for deaf people – especially those who rely on lipreading and facial expressions to communicate.
Now, on Friday, a new rule comes into place that sees them becoming mandatory in Scotland’s shops. Where coverings are already required for public transport, too.
Of course, we accept that these face masks are there for safety, but deaf people are missing out on everyday conversations, and have faced barriers when accessing healthcare, as well.
It is a challenge, but Deaf Action is calling on the UK and Scottish governments to provide a solution, by commissioning face masks which:
- Meet the necessary medical standards
- Can be used by members of the public
Some companies are already working on producing clear face masks, and we’re keeping a close eye on their progress.
However, as this work continues, we need your help to spread awareness of the needs of deaf people during this crisis and to make sure that those who need clear face masks can access them as soon as possible.
Can you help?
If you live in Scotland, we need you to write to your constituency MSP. You can find out who your local representative is by visiting the writetothem.com website.
Ask them to write to the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, Jeane Freeman MSP to request that she meets with Deaf Action to discuss clear face masks for deaf people.
We’ve drafted an email for you below that you can use, but be sure to change some of the wording before you send it, so it does not get marked as spam. Please copy firstname.lastname@example.org into your email, so we’re kept in the loop.
EMAIL TEMPLATE EXAMPLE
Will you support clear face masks for all?
As one of your constituents, I am writing to express my concern around the impact that the use of face masks will have on members of the Deaf community – especially ahead of the new rules which will come into place on Friday.
Deaf Action is calling for transparent, ‘window’ masks to be made available in healthcare settings, as well as to the general public.
Will you support them in their campaign, and agree to a meeting with Deaf Action to discuss this issue further?
For updates on our campaign, check out the hashtag #ClearMasksForAll, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.